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Articles tagged with: Growing Up

M is for Mads... (And Mango!)

on Monday, 08 September 2014.

One of my favourite brands is Innocent- not firstly for the fact that I am a little bit obsessed with their Innocent Veg Pots (Yum!) but also because I have always had a secret yearning to work at Fruit Towers- it looks like the best place to work ever.  When Innocent got in touch to see if we wanted to be one of twenty six bloggers spelling out the alphabet for their Alphabet Challenge, we said yes of course.  We would happily sell our souls in exchange for some free vouchers.  (That bit might not be entirely true)  

We got given the letter M so of course M is for my Mads.  And Mango.

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Little over a year ago I wrote this post.  In it I wrote down all my feelings about Mads potentially starting preschool, about how it was the end of an era and how about we should treasure all these precious moments together.  I read it back today and almost cried, I look at those photos of her running around in her little pink tutu clutching some balloons and she just looks so young.  I remember that day like it was yesterday, yet so much has changed.  She has grown at least a foot taller, those little ringlet curls have got looser and are now almost down to her bottom, and she has changed so much in the face.  Gone are the not quite a baby/not yet a girl features, instead now she is a little girl through and through.  This Summer has seen the arrival of a splattering of freckles, sun kisses as we call them, over her little button nose.  

I'm feeling very nostalgic at the moment, and a little sentimental too.  Seeing proud parents post photos of their children all over social media, smiling in their slightly too big, ironed and crisp new school uniform, I am well aware that next year that will be us.  It's something that every parent goes through, we have known it was coming even from when she was tiny, when the very idea of school seemed like a far off dream.  But slowly we are ticking those milestones of the list- she's been at nursery/preschool almost a year now, she can write her name, she no longer needs her little musical doggy to send her off to sleep at night.  Tick, Tick, Tick, another day passing, another milestone achieved.  

She drives me mad on a daily basis, she takes about fifteen minutes to get into her car seat especially when I am in a rush, and she can throw one hell of a wobbler if she doesn't get her own way on occasions.  But for the most part, we are best friends.  She is completely innocent, still sucks her fingers and plays with ears when she is tired and still believes we are the centre of the world.  While she realises there are bad people in the world, or that bad things can happen, she doesn't truly grasp that concept quite yet.  She lives in a world of rainbows, fairies and Toy Story characters that come to life.  And I am not ready to leave that world behind.

Growing up hurts sometimes, it hurts us parents who watch them leaving those precious days behind- those tiny, wailing newborn days, those days where you feel like you will never get off the sofa without a child attached to your breast, those terrible twos where they won't eat anything but fromage frais, and those funny days where they learn word after word and pronounce them wrong.  But that's life.  We change.  We grow.  We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone a year from now.

So I had to dedicate my letter in the Innocent Alphabet to Mads.  My precious little girl, who over the next year is going to change and grow more than ever.  Who one day won't think her Mummy is the centre of her universe.  Who a year from now I will have to let go of just a tiny little bit, as she learns to become the person she is meant to be through the help of her hopefully special and memorable school days.   We will enjoy the next year together, the lazy days, the days where we don't have to rush around for the school run, and the days where it's just the three of us.  We will bake cakes, see friends, go to the playground and make smoothies.

M is for Mads.  And Mango.

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{The Ordinary Moments} #17 - A Milestone Day.

on Sunday, 08 December 2013.

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This past week we have had a very big thing happen in a little lady's world- she had her first settling in session at nursery.  

When I went back to work when Mads was eleven months old, we were in the fortunate position that two dear family friends and my Mum looked after her for the three days I was away.  This continued for the next fourteen months until I went on maternity leave with LL, and I can't thank them enough for having my big girl for me.

This time around our situation has changed, in all aspects.  In regards to work, that's a story for another time, but in terms of childcare we have had to decide on what to do with Mads and LL.  We looked at a couple of pre-schools but due to a number of different reasons we have enrolled both Mads and LL in nursery two short days a week from 9.00am - 2.30pm.  LL will start settling in sessions in January ready to start properly in February, but Mads had her first one last Thursday.

I was so nervous about taking her.  She has always been quite independent but recently she has developed a sense of fear about certain things. We chatted about it in the car, and she insisted on wearing her sunglasses which I thought was funny.  We walked in and straight away she was fine.  I thought I would have to stay a while the first time round, but within five minutes I was out the door.  

I walked outside to my car, and had to hold back the tears.  I put my hands on the wheels and realised they were shaking.  I know that babies go to nursery a lot earlier than she has, but it's a big step for me to leave her with someone other than family and friends who love her as much as I do.  

She is only there two hours at a time until the end of December, but when I went to pick her up, she was sat at a little table doing some painting without a care in the world.  I walked in and she looked a mixture of embarrassed and happy to see me, and I had to drag her home because she didn't want to leave.  I got the most gorgeous reindeer painting, which she was so incredibly proud to tell me about as soon as I walked in the door.  I honestly will treasure it forever and it's happily got prime position on our kitchen cabinet.

I am so proud of my big girl, and although we may have a few wobbles along the way, I can tell that she will be very happy there, and will thrive.  She is growing up so fast, and although it is just nursery, it feels like I am letting her go just a little bit.  It sounds silly but it is a big step for me.  I don't know what on earth I am going to do when LL goes in January!  

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The Application.

on Monday, 10 June 2013.

Last week I picked up a thin green folder with 4 sheets of A4 paper in it.  

Mads pre school application.

At 2 and a half, she can't actually go to our local pre school until 2 years nine months, but due to limited spaces it is best to get the application form in as soon as you can.  

I wasn't aware just quite how much this green folder would stir up strange emotions in me.

I want Mads to go to pre school, I really do.  I have been without her occasionally since she was 11 months old when I returned to work.  I worked three days a week and Mads went to my mum and two incredibly wonderful family friends.  She still does a day and a half a week.

I am used to being without her, I am happy to go on the occasional night away from her (4 times in her little life so far) but pre-school?  

Well that's something else.

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Time is going so fast.  Having our lovely LL seems to have reinforced this even more.  It's almost as if LL's arrival has made Mads appear even more grown up overnight.  She is growing that little bit taller, speaking that little bit more, and learning to do new things every day.  

Compared to her little sister, she seems so big.

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At 2 and a half, her baby days are well and truly behind us.  I don't see a baby when I look at her anymore. I don't even see a toddler.

I see a little girl.  

And with that little girl I see a glimpse of the future.  Of learning to let her go, just a little at a time.

There will be pre-school.  Then there will be school.  She will lose some of her innocence that makes her who she is.  My little girl who has never ever so much as lashed out at another child.  My little girl who believes in the Easter Bunny, in Father Christmas and who dances around the room to the Bubble Guppies theme tune.

My little girl who sucks her fingers and plays with the ears of whoever will let her when she is tired and needing a comfort.

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My little girl who truly believes her Mummy and Daddy are superheros who can do anything.

My little girl who needs her Mummy when she is sad.

My kind hearted, innocent, brave little person who knows nothing of the bad things that can happen in the world.  Who dances naked and shakes her 'bum bum' and who has no issues with body image or confidence.  Who hasn't got a bad bone in her little body.

I have a huge desire to wrap her up in cotton wool and never let her go.  At times I wish I had a large stopwatch that was capable of slowing down time, or even stop it.  To keep my babies the age they are now.  To stop them growing so quickly.

But I can't do that.  

I have to let my big girl take her first steps into the world.  I have to let her go, even slightly, and let her be Mad's.  To find out who she is.  To grow, to learn and to develop into the person she is going to be.

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When I hand that small green folder back into our local preschool next week, I need to remember how I am feeling at this moment.  

I need to remember to treasure every single moment with my girls.  Even the everyday moments- the naked dancing, the silly giggles and the tired cuddles.  The little bruised legs poking out underneath her pink tutu and the way her curls bounce when she runs.

I need to fill our days with fun, love and happiness.  So that when she is grown up she can remember these days we spent together, however distant and long ago they may seem.

I need to learn to let her go, let go of her hand and let her take her first steps into the world.  Yes it's only pre school, but it's the start of a long line of things to come.  It may only be an application form, but it's almost like signing a form saying that this first part of our lives and journey together are over.  Starting pre school is like starting another chapter- the chapter where she grows up that little bit more.

The days that we are each other's everything.  That I have to accept her growing up.

She may not look so little anymore.  

But she will always be my baby.

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A 'Big Girl' Room- A Room Tour.

on Monday, 22 April 2013.

We have finally completed Mads 'big girl' room.  It was started way back in November, but due to the fact that we had to wait an absolute age for the cot bed to be delivered, we have only just finished it now.  On Sunday she spent the day at my Dad's and we transformed our old study for her.  Her face was an actual picture when she came in, she was so excited and proceeded straight away to get in her new bed.

I thought I would do a little tour of her very first 'big girls' room.

We decided on a woodland theme.

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Above her bed we got a canvas made of my favourite photo of her, her 'flying' in the rape seed last summer.  On the wall next to her curtains are some home made owls, made very kindly for her by my mother in law.

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We kept the existing chair that was in our study so we could sit and read her a bedtime story and bought this owl cushion from Sass & Belle.  Next to it is 'Rabbit' who I was given on the day I was born and has been my most trusted companion ever since.  I love my little girl enough that I have entrusted her to look after him!

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We put up two floating white shelves to add bits and pieces.  These Ingela P Arrhenius owl nesting dolls were from The Kid Who and we bought the little toadstool night light from Not On The High Street.

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On the other shelf we have her photos of her in my tummy which we call her 'first ever photo.'  The little owl paper lantern was from her Auntie Paula.

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We chose a wardrobe from Next which had four inbuilt shelves, so we filled them with nick nacks.  These owls are from various different places, mainly again from her Auntie Paula.

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On the next shelf we bought a big toadstool from the Jools Oliver for Mothercare range, it is meant to be a doorstop but we thought it looked nice next to the very hungry caterpiller!

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Mads made this ceramic star dish herself on our last weekend as a three.  The Monday after baby LL arrived.

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Baby LL bought this for her big sister on the day she came to meet her in the hospital!

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We bought these little toadstool lights to hang from the end of her bed from Toyday.co.uk, they actually make the room very cosy when the lights are off and they are on.

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Mads is very lucky to go to her Auntie Paula's every week. Auntie Paula is one of my Mum's best friends and her Mum 'Nanny Ann' knitted this rather lovely owl for Mads.  He sits on the windowsill and oversees what's going on.

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This photo frame hangs by the door, we need to get a photo of LL in there too, although she was in my tummy in two of them.

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She has 'stars' covering her ceiling which glow in the dark and her paper lampshade is Farg & Form from Nubie.

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Mr E bought both our girls a 'special Daddy present' on the day they were born and he wrapped them up and bought them to the hospital.  They both have rabbits like Mummy had on the day she was born, although each of them has a different one.  Mads has a pink bunny who sits on her new big girl bed.  I like to think that one day they will know how special these presents are and how thoughtful their Dad is.

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The owl bedding and curtains are from Dunelm, I am not a massive fan of baby pink children's rooms so I was thrilled to find a set that weren't too girly but were still fun for a toddler.

 

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The wall sticker we have mentioned on this blog before, we kindly got it to review from Enchanted Interiors.

So there you have it.

A 'big girl' room for my biggest little girl, who is growing far too quickly.  Both myself and Mr E watched her playing yesterday in her new bed and exchanged glances at each other as she was jumping around in delight- I know what we were both thinking without having to say any words at all- our little girl is growing up fast!*

*NB- Not too fast however as she is not actually sleeping in her big girl room just yet- she still naps for three hours in the afternoon and sleeps twelve/thirteen hours a night- I am not risking that by putting her into a big girl bed until I possibly have too.  While LL is still in with us, she is staying in her nursery!

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